Between a prostitute and a nurse

Talenti will be presenting the classic social comedy Filumena Marturano at the Manoel Theatre next weekend.

Manoel Theatre, in collaboration with Talenti, is presenting Edoardo de Filippo's social comedy, Filumena Marturano this coming weekend starting Friday, 2 March and running up through Saturday 3 until Sunday 4 March at Manoel Theatre.

The play will be presented in Maltese, based on a translation by Louis Azzopardi under the direction of Salvu Mallia.

Filumena Marturano is a play written in 1946 by Italian playwright and philosopher Eduardo De Filippo, and the forthcoming production at Teatru Manoel has been translated and adapted to Maltese by Louis Azzopardi and will be directed by Salvu Mallia.

The curtain opens on Domenico Soriano, 50, a wealthy Neapolitan shop-keeper who is raging against Filumena, 48, a former prostitute. They lived together for 25 years as husband and wife and she has cheated him, pretending to be near to death, and convincing him to marry her in extremis.

Domenico, however, would rather marry Diana, a young girl, who is already in the house pretending to be a nurse. Realising he's been tricked into marrying Filumena, Domenico asks his lawyer, Nocella, to annul the marriage. From here on the plot develops with both serious and humorous twists.

The leading roles are played by Rita Camilleri and Mario Micallef and the complete cast includes Ninette Micallef, Snitz, Alan Fenech, Carlos Farrugia, Sean Buhagiar, Audrey Harrison, Michael Sciortino, Lorna Fiorini, Anna Bassily and Clive Piscopo.

Filumena Marturano was initially written as a tribute to Eduardo's sister, Titina De Filippo, a famous Neapolitan theatrical actress, who took the title role in the first production in Naples in 1946.

The play followed on from the success of Napoli milionaria, which Eduardo had written and which had premiered the year before to general acclaim. The first night of the new play, proved a disappointment however, and received lukewarm notices from the Neapolitan theatre-going public.

Titina decided to address this by following her own instincts and performing as she felt the role required. She was proved right. The play achieved great success, so great in fact that for many years afterwards Titina was called in public in Italy by her character's name, Filumena, rather than her own.

Thanks to an arrangement made by Carlo Trabucco, the editor of the daily Italian Christian Democrat newspaper Il Popolo, an audience was arranged for the cast to meet Pope Pius XII in a private audience in the Vatican.

At the audience, the Pope unexpectedly asked to hear one of the monologues, and Titina recited for him the prayer of Filumena to the Madonna of the Roses.

Despite the strong connection between Titina De Filippo and the role in the mind of the Italian public, another actress, Regina Bianchi, was also able to achieve cult status as Filumena in subsequent years.

In 1977 an English language translation by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall undertook a production at the Lyric Theatre in London directed by Franco Zeffirelli starring Colin Blakely and Joan Plowright.

This won The London Theatres Comedy of the year award in 1978. The production was then taken to New York City where it opened on 10 February 1980 at the St James Theatre on Broadway where it ran for 32 performances. Prior to the New York transfer it had a run in Baltimore where it was directed by Laurence Olivier (Husband of Joan Plowright).

The play was performed at the Piccadilly Theatre, London, opening on 30 September 1998 and running until 27 February 1999.

It was directed by Peter Hall with Dame Judi Dench in the title role. Michael Pennington played Domenico.

Performances of Filumena Marturano commence at 8.00pm and bookings may be made online via or via email: [email protected] or by phoning 21 246389.